Singing and codeswitching in sequence closings

Maria Frick

Abstract

Turns in interaction that initiate closure of expanded sequences are often summaries, accounts and assessments of the preceding talk. Sometimes these turns are produced by means that can be described as heteroglossic. This paper investigates singing and codeswitching in sequence closures, as well as other accompanying contextualisation cues such as prosodic changes and gestures. The heteroglossic character of these contextualised turns is a means for the speakers to distance themselves from the actions of their turns, and from the ongoing sequential activities. For the recipients this gives a possibility to make interpretations of non-seriousness. The sequences can then be closed with joint affiliative action such as laughter. In cases where the sequences have been expanded because of problems in interaction, singing and codeswitching relieve the tension between participants. On occasion, they also give rise to new topics. This paper is written in a conversation analytic framework, on data collected from everyday face-to-face interaction among Finns living in Estonia.

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